A way to run nearly all functions of dotNet from SQL Server

Last night, I got a case to write a function in SQL Server 2005 to support the user account and password check against Active Directory. The user requirement is quite clear:

  • Create a scalar-valued function named LDAPUserCheck;
  • Parameter @username nvarchar(MAX) for user name to check;
  • Parameter @password nvarchar(MAX) for password matching the username specified;
  • Return bit 1 if succeeded, or 0 for all other reasons.

After a digging, I found that LDAP password authentication is not supported directly by SQL Server. But SQLCLR is a way to build the native dotnet program into SQL Server. In a new created SQLCLR project in VS 2005, I realized it’s unable to add the reference System.DirectoryServices.AccountManagement, which is required by running the code for Active Directory authentication. But a Web Service is a choice.

My steps to achieve that:

1 Create and deploy a Web Service for the authentication check.

1.1 Create a Web Service project.

1.2 Add System.DirectoryServices.AccountManagement as a reference.

1.3 Add a setting DomainName as string for storing the domain name.

1.4 Add a service like this:

    public class LDAPAuthentication : System.Web.Services.WebService
        static string domainName = Settings.Default.DomainName;

        public bool Check(string userName, string password)
            using (PrincipalContext pc = new PrincipalContext(ContextType.Domain, domainName))
                // validate the credentials
                bool isValid = pc.ValidateCredentials(userName, password);
                return isValid;

1.5 Deploy this service and use a application pool running by a domain user. This user should be added to IIS_WPG group in Windows Server 2003.

2 Create a SQLCLR project to call the Web Service.

2.1 Create a SQLCLR project in Visual Studio 2005.

2.2 Add a Web Service reference. It’s named as LDAP in my project.

2.3 Add a User Defined Functions.

    public static SqlBoolean LDAPUserCheck(
        SqlString username, SqlString password)
        using (LDAPAuthentication.LDAP.LDAPAuthentication service = new LDAPAuthentication.LDAP.LDAPAuthentication())
            if (service.Check(username.ToString(), password.ToString()))
                return SqlBoolean.True;
                return SqlBoolean.False;

2.4 Set Permission Level to External in Database page of project setting.

2.5 Build this project to get the dll files. In my case, these files are named LDAPAuthentication.dll and LDAPAuthentication.XmlSerializers.dll.

3 Deploy this project into SQL Server 2005.

3.1 Enable the CLR support in SQL Server 2005 by running this code:

sp_configure 'show advanced options', 1;

sp_configure 'clr enabled', 1;

sp_configure 'show advanced options', 0;

3.2 Create a database for storing this function. Or, you can use any existed database as well. In my case, I created a database “tester”.

3.3 Set trustworthy on this database by running:

ALTER DATABASE [tester] SET trustworthy ON

3.4 Copy the 2 dll files created in step 2 to this server. In my case, these are stored in C:\SQLCLR folder.

3.5 Create assemblies in SQL Server by running:

create assembly [LDAPAuthentication] from 'C:\SQLCLR\LDAPAuthentication.dll' with permission_set = external_access
create assembly [LDAPAuthentication.XmlSerializers] from 'C:\SQLCLR\LDAPAuthentication.XmlSerializers.dll' with permission_set = external_access

3.6 Create function to run the method we’ve created in VS 2005:

CREATE FUNCTION [dbo].[LDAPUserCheck](@username [nvarchar](4000), @password [nvarchar](4000))
EXTERNAL NAME [LDAPAuthentication].[UserDefinedFunctions].[LDAPUserCheck]

Now everything is done. You can call this function like all others created by SQL. Run this for test.

select dbo.LDAPUserCheck('myusername','mypassword')


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